BACKGROUND. There are few prospective studies of prednisone-free immunosuppression (IS) in pediatric kidney transplant (KTx) recipients. We studied the outcomes of a protocol using rapid discontinuation of prednisone (RDP, <1 week) and thymoglobulin induction. METHODS. Twenty-one RDP recipients (mean age 14±3 years) received KTx between May 2002 and December 2005 and were matched with controls (n=39) for age, race, and donor source. For the RDP group, IS consisted of prednisone tapered off over 6 days, thymoglobulin, mycophenolate mofetil, and cyclosporine A (CsA). In controls, IS consisted of thymoglobulin, maintenance prednisone, azathioprine, and CsA. RESULTS. For the RDP group, graft survival at 1 and 2 years was 90% and 86%; for the controls, graft survival at 1 and 2 years was 92%, and 90% (P=0.86). For the RDP group, the incidence of acute rejection at 1 and 2 years was 14% and 19%; for controls, the incidence of acute rejection at 1 and 2 years was 23%, and 31% (P=0.17). Of the 18 RDP recipients with functioning grafts, 89% remain prednisone-free at follow-up. There was no significant difference between groups in recipient survival rates, incidence of hypertension, chronic allograft nephropathy, or cytomegalovirus disease. CONCLUSIONS. RDP using thymoglobulin, mycophenolate mofetil, and CsA in selected pediatric KTx recipients is associated with recipient and graft survival rates and acute rejection incidence comparable with quadruple drug therapy.
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- Pediatric kidney transplantation
- Prednisone withdrawal